Homeowners now have a new tool to discover how supporting locally owned, independent businesses directly improves their home values: an online calculator, introduced today by national small business movement Independent We Stand.

Based on a recent study by American Express OPEN, home values in neighborhoods with strong independent retail districts grew at a much faster rate over a 14-year period than those without. Independent We Stand’s Home Value Calculator (located at:  www.independentwestand.org/home-value-calculator/) gives homeowners an easy tool to determine how supporting their locally owned, independent businesses – and encouraging more to open in their areas – affects the value of their home.

“In Detroit, a city particularly hard-hit by the economic recession, the average home value would have increased 47 percent from 1997 to 2011 if it had been located near a successful independent business district,” said Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand. “Studies continue to prove that buying local whenever possible improves the economy – from the neighborhood level up. Independent business truly is the lifeblood of the American economy.”

The Home Value Calculator joins Independent We Stand’s Economic Impact Calculator, designed to show the direct impact on the local economy if each family spent just $10 each month with a locally owned business instead of at a national chain. Both calculators are part of Independent We Stand’s ongoing campaign to educate American communities about the positive economic benefits of buying from locally owned, independent businesses whenever possible.

Independent We Stand, which is sponsored in part by STIHL Inc., has a website which offers free advertising and promotional materials for all locally owned businesses to promote their community impact, as well as a business database for consumers to find local, independent businesses in their area. Visit www.IndependentWeStand.org to learn more.